the prayer Jesus tortoise

1 10 2013

It’s about the whole life. Our faith, that is. When we gather we try to reflect that. A big danger of contemporary church is the X-Factor effect – unless something is an immediate emotional response to something else it’s not valid. So our prayers and worship easily become stereotyped immediate emotional responses to what god has done and a plea to feel more.

We do cry out for emotional response, yes; but what we need is depth. Depth cannot be captured just in immediate emotional response. Because depth is, whether we feel it or not. God is, whether we feel him or not. Prayer is not me thinking about me. Prayer needs to be slower than immediacy. The prayer Jesus tortoise, not the prayer Jesus hared through. tortoiseandhare 

Jesus knew this. They didn’t have the X-Factor but they still had the human tendency to shortcut deep whole-life prayer for an emotional high. Which is why Jesus said its no good publicly keeping the law but being a git. Squashed camels and broken needles. Planks in eyes. Millstones. Tortoises and hares. *

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus said be spontaneous, speak from the heart, liberally use the word “just”, and repeat the same thing in different words so people know you mean it. Haha. 

submitWe know what he said. We call it the Lord’s Prayer, even my phone recognises the title and capitalises it. It can be so familiar. Yet we can miss it’s power. It’s depth. It’s whole-life-ness. 

Try to grasp it. Cut through the rush for emotional immediacy to the whole-life depth of this tiny piece of dynamite. Because if we really meant what we prayed, our lives would be vastly different. 

It puts God first, and us in full submission. We declare trust in him. We confess our weaknesses. We ask for help. We return to worship. When we grasp the depth of what that all means, when we take it as a template not just for Sunday worship but for everyday help with worship, hope, submission, trust, forgiveness, temptation, evil and worship, then our lives will be more rounded and our emotions more grounded in who Jesus is and not in how we feel or think we ought to feel.

Start our prayers with “you are our…” It’s kinda hard. So practice.
It’s his kingdom. It’s his rules. It’s his hope. He shares it. We share in it.
His will, not ours. Full submission. Of attitudes, money, family, career. Of freedom. For freedom.
The first prayer for us. Halfway through. We trust him. Not my strength, my skills, but your grace. For today.
Not looking inwards and feeling sorry for ourselves, but outwards and saying sorry to others. No special favours. We don’t get to be gits.
I am not my urges. We are not enslaved to our senses. We are temples where god dwells.
Evil exists. We collude. “They” are not the problem, I am. We are. Deliver us.
We end where we began. Worship.

The prayer Jesus tortoise is slow, but deep. Grasp it, then you can respond with an epic emotional tear-jerking ballad if you want to.

Click here for Blessnet’s version of the Lord’s Prayer.

* It’s possible the tortoise and hare isn’t one of Jesus’ parables, I can’t find the reference. 



8 responses

1 10 2013
James Harvey

Liking the post Kevin, but loving the title!

1 10 2013

Thanks James. I must admit to being particularly proud of that one.

1 10 2013

Thanks for the link to the Bless Lord’s Prayer, I’ve never come across it before and found it pretty powerful. Your post hit the right note too.

2 10 2013

Great one Kevin. Prayer is not about us its about Jesus, its not about what we feel but what God is, its not about what we want but about God’s agenda. In fact the only thing I can find in prayer about us is confession!

The funny thing is, when we slow down and go at Gods place, suddenly he does give us something immediate that we have to use in worship, or in intercession and then he does use our prayers, and there is a place for the prayers of our heart. I like the image of all our prayers being poured into the censor as worship of almighty God. I wonder what he makes of some of mine?

2 10 2013

Amen. or yep! insert affirmation of choice…

4 10 2013

Awesome! An extraordinary reminder of the simplicity of prayer and the incredible power it has. I have used the Lords Prayer in this way all my life! My mum taught me this as a little girl and I am just in awe of the way you break it down to its parts. Such a timely reminder for me. 🙂

4 12 2014

“Which is why Jesus said its no good publically keeping the law but being a git.” Nice translation. Do you think Jesus’ teaching in general can be paraphrased by saying. “Don’t be a git”?!

4 12 2014

Yes, I think that would a lot shorter.

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